Templepatrick Cricket Club captain Richard Greer says the newly-promoted squad is chomping at the bit to get started in Northern Cricket Union’s Section One. And, up against quality opposition, he’s hoping his side can cause a few surprises along the way.
The new campaign kicks off today with a trip to Dundrum. “We can’t wait to get going,” Greer said. “This will be an historic year for Templepatrick, as it’s the highest level we have played at.
“In some ways, it’s hard to know what to expect from our opponents. We haven’t played a lot of them before, but we hope this will work in our favour as we will be an unknown quantity too.”
Greer, 34, admitted that a big battle lies ahead for the team. Section One survival is their primary objective, but he’s hopeful they might be able to cause an upset or two.
“We have been knocking on the door of Section One for several years now, so it’s great to actually get promotion. We are under no illusions that it will be a tough season on the field. We will come up against some quality opponents: Carrick, Downpatrick, Muckamore, Woodvale just to name a few, but we feel we are more than capable of causing a few upsets.
“We must be realistic and say staying in Section One is our main goal, but we are aiming for a mid-table finish. Being in this league is the next stepping-stone for Templepatrick, so it’s where we aim to be next season.”
The club has been boosted by the arrival of 26-year-old Australian all-rounder, Warren Clunes. Adding an overseas player to their ranks is a first for Templepatrick, but it’s a move Greer is confident will pay off.
“It was a hard decision for the committee to make, as we have never had an overseas player in the past. Warren is from Wagga City Cats, and is known as a hard-hitting batsman. We hope his impact on the pitch will bring us success. Off the pitch, his coaching at the club and in local schools will help the Templepatrick grow and produce more quality players for the future.”
Greer highlighted Jay Hunter and Robert Smith as key men ahead of the 2013 season. With almost 700 runs, Hunter enjoyed a record-breaking 2012, while Smith was the leading wicket-taker in Section Two.
And he fancies Carrick to bounce straight back to the Premier League, by winning the title.
“I think they will go up at the first time of asking. They have a great squad of players who will have experience of playing at the top level, which will help their promotion push,” he added.
Also in Section One action this weekend are Mallusk-based Cliftonville Cricket Club, who make the journey to Downpatrick.